This issue of Kesher offers a forum on the ongoing dialogue on the nature and direction of Messianic Judaism. Dr. Mark Kinzer’s new book Postmissionary Messianic Judaism: Redefining Christian Engagement with the Jewish People serves as a catalyst for this dialogue. Kinzer’s Postmissionary Messianic Judaism seeks to redefine Messianic Judaism in terms of its relationship with Judaism and Christianity and has received wide recognition due to its publication by a mainstream academic publisher.
In the following brief essay, one of Kesher’s editors, Jonathan Kaplan, provides a synopsis of Postmissionary Messianic Judaism. Kaplan also describes the numerous respondents to Postmissionary Messianic Judaism found within this issue. The respondents include a variety of voices within Messianic Judaism and Christianity, who commend and challenge this new work that has emerged from within Messianic Judaism.
As Messianic Judaism grows in the midst of Judaism and Christianity, not only will new definitions be explored, but long-held assumptions about theology and tradition will be challenged. This issue of Kesher also includes two articles and a book review that offer new perspectives on the Dead Sea community, Yeshua’s genealogy, and the interrelationship between Judaism and Christianity.
Elliot Klayman in Comparing Portions of Qumran Literature With Pharisaic Characteristics: In Search of the Nature of the Community Through Examining its Approach to Sabbath Laws and Angels challenges the widely held belief that the Dead Sea sect was essentially influenced by, or most akin to, the Sadducees. In fact, the sect more closely resembled the Pharisees-rabbis in some respects, evidenced by examining its belief and approach to the law of the Sabbath and angelology. Klayman finds that the sect adopted tradition, and engaged in “fencing the law” in a similar manner to the Pharisees. The article concludes with an observation contrasting the Pharisees and the Qumran community with the Nazarene-Messianics. It posits that Messianic Jews today suffer from identity confusion, and a lack of clear tradition, because of the early usurpation and displacement of the Messianic movement by dominant “Constantinized” forces.
Russell Resnik offers a review of Abraham’s Promise: Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), by modern Orthodox scholar Michael Wyschogrod. Resnik claims that Abraham’s Promise is essential reading for anyone involved in Messianic Judaism. Wyschogrod disagrees with Messianic Jews about Yeshua as Messiah, but this collection of his writings edited by R. Kendall Soulen abounds with insights into the place of Israel in the New Testament, and the place of Jewish Yeshua-believers within the larger body of Messiah. Resnik comments, “Wyschogrod often seems to understand Messianic Jews better than we understand ourselves, and should help Christians free themselves from the legacy of supersessionism.”
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Andrew Sparks • Editor-in-Chief • Kesher • www.kesherjournal.com
Andrew Sparks (M.DIV., Westminster Theological Seminary, S.T.M., Yale University) leads Congregation Avodat Yisrael of Philadelphia, PA, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Kesher.